Sebastian Vettel believes a calm approach has been the key to Ferrari’s resurgence in Formula One after taking the Scuderia’s first win in two years at the Australian Grand Prix.
Vettel’s win — the 43rd of his career — marked Ferrari’s first victory in F1 since the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, also won by the German. Ferrari’s impressive performance and strategy in Melbourne reflected an encouraging pre-season in which the team appeared to be in a better position than recent years to take the fight to Mercedes.
“I didn’t manage that, I’m not the team manager!,” Vettel joked when asked what had changed behind the scenes. “I think in the end it was clear when we started off three years ago that there’s a lot to do, a lot to reshuffle and we knew the team was at a low but the spirit was very good in the first year, in 2015, and I think last year was also a very good year, not in terms of the results but in terms of the team and it’s good also to hit some lows and go through difficult periods even though they suck.
“You know as you look race by race it’s not great but still seeing what happened in the background I think it’s important,” he added. “I think the people always kept believing. As I said the last six months have been very calm, we’ve done our work and it’s starting to pay off so I think obviously now it peaks and we’re on top of this grand prix but that’s a small achievement.”
Vettel’s win on Sunday also broke another important milestone, as Ferrari became the first non-Mercedes backed-team to lead both drivers’ and constructors’ world championships since the V6 Hybrid era began in 2014. Despite the victory, Vettel is keen to stay grounded about the Italian outfit’s chances in 2017, insisting Mercedes remains the team to beat.
“If you look who we’re up against I think Mercedes have been phenomenal in the last few years,” the quadruple world champion said. “Incredible effort, incredible with both drivers, and now Valtteri just fitted in and kept doing fantastic job for the team so [there’s] no weak link from the outside, at least not one we can see, so they’ll be the team to beat. But for sure today I’m just happy we take it as a team, and we saw the guys smiling and singing.”